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Ex-Education Official Focuses On Kansas Workforce Challenges

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Kansas' former education commissioner is hoping to bridge the divide between how schools teach and what businesses need from their workers.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that Diane DeBacker was appointed late last year to the new executive director of business and education innovation position at the Kansas Department of Commerce. Her job is meant to bring education voices into the department.

DeBacker hopes to bring education and business officials together to better prepare students for the workforce at a time when Kansas faces worker shortages in skilled and technical jobs.

The Kansas Labor Department says nearly 49,000 jobs were vacant last year.

DeBacker says the Commerce Department will outline goals in the coming weeks, which may include rethinking the school day structure or tailoring curriculum for students' career interests.

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